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Entries in education (8)


Back-to-School 2013: Illinois Health Regulations -- Vaccines, Physicals and More

My good friend Laura Weisskopf Bleill shared this post with me to share with you. Laura is the co-founder of the fabulous chambanamoms.com, a resource for families in the Champaign-Urbana area.

If your child is going to school in the state of Illinois, they are required to meet certain medical requirements, by law. Those laws vary by age. We’ve attempted to break down what your child needs to be “legal” when heading back to school for 2013-2014.


If your family is struggling financially and needs help meeting these requirements, one step to take would be to contact your county health department. Here's a link to the Federally Qualified Health Centers serving Kane County; they offer a variety of services that are low- and reduced cost for low-income families. And here's a link to the Vaccines for Children program in DuPage County, serving children who do not have insurance or have insurance that doesn't cover immunizations. 
  • Dental Exams: Illinois law requires schoolchildren entering kindergarten, second and sixth grades to have a dental examination prior to the start of the school year – although yearly dental exams are encouraged for all schoolchildren. Dental exams are due by May 15 of current school year for children in kindergarten, second and sixth grades. 
  • Physicals: School physical exams/proof of immunizations are required when your child is new to a district, is entering kindergarten, entering sixth grade, and prior to entering ninth grade. Physicals are due by the first day of school.

A vision screening in Cambodia. Photo by GlobalPartnership for Education.

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Daytrip: Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford

If you have a child who is really into dinosaurs or fossils, you might want to consider a trip to the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford. There, you can get up close and personal with "Jane," the best-preserved and most complete juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. 

From Geneva, it's just a 90-minute drive up Interstate 90. If you're in the Elgin area, it will be closer to an hour. Admission is not bad, and unlike visiting a museum in downtown Chicago, parking is plentiful and free! Read on to learn more about this little museum with a big find!

Jane, a juvenile T. Rex, is the starring attraction at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford. Photo by Tara Burghart.Name: Burpee Museum of Natural History, which was established in the 1940s.

Location: 737 N. Main Street in downtown Rockford, in Riverfront Museum Park on the west banks of the Rock River. Also located in the park is the Discovery Center Museum, which is a children's museum, as well as the Rockford Art Museum and Rockford Dance Company. The museum's phone number is 815-965-3433.

Admission: Adults are $10, children ages 7 through 17 are $9 and children 6 and under are free. 

Hours: The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to  5 p.m. 

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Easy Outing: Water Wonders in North Aurora

Here's a cooling water feature that won't close down come Labor Day. It's eco-friendly and educational, too!

Name: Water Wonders, a 125-foot educational interactive stream that just opened this summer in North Aurora along the Fox River. 

Address: Water Wonders is located just west of North Aurora's Village Hall, which has an address of 25 E. State Street. I parallel parked on State Street, but I bet Village Hall has a lot you could use, too. Water Wonders is located just to the north (walking distance) of North Aurora Island Park, previously featured in the Go West "Great Parks!" series. 

Water Wonders in North Aurora is located right next to the Fox River. Photo by Tara Burghart.

About the Project: The ultimate goal for Water Wonders is that it will be a place where children can splash, wade and climb while learning about water conservation and the native landscape of Illinois. Landscaping and some signage still needs to be installed, but in the meantime, it's still a fun, unique place to cool down and enjoy beautiful views of the Fox River. 

Water Wonders was spearheaded by the North Aurora River District Alliance, a non-profit organization committed to developing the North Aurora riverfront area into a destination that residents and visitors will enjoy.

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She'sWrite: Preschool Graduation - More than Just Poop & Circumstance?

I have crossed another milestone as a parent. My firstborn has graduated ... From preschool.

I remember before I had kids, I thought, sheesh, what’s up with all of these graduations? Preschool, Kindergarten, sixth grade, eighth grade and finally high school??? I have had two graduations: High school and college.

But then I got the notice that our daycare was having a ceremony for all the kids who were going to start kindergarten in the fall. I stopped rolling my eyes about preschool graduation and now, I found myself getting excited.

Hubby got off work early so we could attend the Friday evening event.  Logan was so excited, he could not stop jumping up and down. The school even gave him a red cap and gown to borrow, which was cute. Silly? Yes, but really very cute.

Then the kids put on a program for the parents. Of course this meant all of us parents had to squat on those impossibly small kiddie chairs. Seriously, why bother offering us a place to sit when only half of my butt fits on the seat?

I digress. Back to the program … All of the songs I’ve been hearing around the house about Johnny working with hammers or apples and bananas or sharks and dinosaurs, now I got to hear them in stereo and with the appropriate hand movements.

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Ask the Expert: How to Enhance Your Child's Language Development

I'm a speech-language pathologist (SLP). That's my official title anyway. People often call me "speech therapist" or "speech teacher." I'm not a huge fan of the official or unofficial terms to be honest. First of all, saying speech-language pathologist is such a mouthful that people usually give me a deer-in-headlights look after I've finally finished saying the whole thing. I'd rather be called a "communication specialist." I mean, "Pathologist?" Really??!! Sounds like I'm trying to make the deceased speak. 

Photo from iStockphoto.The reason I'm bringing this up is because parents often ask me about their child's "speech," meaning that they believe that speech solely consists of how sounds and words are pronounced. But speech is a lot more than that. It's not just about articulation. It's about total communication, i.e. language structure, vocabulary, pragmatics, intonation, and more. In fact, by improving your child's overall communication skills, articulation may be improved indirectly since the child is actually verbalizing more often and thus, able to practice different articulation patterns more often. 

So, when parents ask me what kinds of products (or, nowadays, apps) can improve their child's "speech," I tend to shudder. Before I had children, I made tons of flashcards, games, etc. for parents to use at home. Now that I have two wonderful children, the fact that we're all just trying to make it through the day with as few tantrums, melt-downs, and messes as possible has hit me square in the face. I have found that parents tend to want "stuff" in order to prove they are doing something. I fall into this trap all of the time.  “Oh,” I think, “my boy will love to color if I just buy him these really cool crayons.” (Yeah, he could care less.)  There is nothing wrong with trying some games at home, but children tend to be put off by the fact that Mom or Dad is now trying to push them into doing something that is really tough for them. Both parties may get frustrated or the presentation of material could be inauthentic. 

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